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A big part of your job centers around keeping hungry kids happy and healthy in the cafeteria. As a food service director or kitchen manager, you meet that challenge every day.You know that you’re in a unique position to help them in the fight against ever-increasing childhood obesity.
The USDA has long recommended school cafeteria salad bars for improving nutritional choices and encouraging healthy eating habits. However, it isn’t easy to keep up with kids, so your strategies have to evolve. We present 10 school lunch salad bar ideas for satisfying young appetites with both nutrition and fun.
1. Give It Plenty of Exposure
Locate your salad bar so that it gets lots of young foot traffic. Kids can’t miss the fruit and veggie buffet when it holds a prominent place in the service line.
2. Keep It Colorful
Create an eye-catching presentation with arrangements of strawberries, blood oranges and apples, or contrast sliced red and yellow bell peppers with green hearts of romaine lettuce.
3. Let Them Choose
Your young clientele enjoys plating their own. Empower them to make healthy choices by themselves instead of serving pre-assembled fruit cups and salad plates.
4. Put It All Within Reach
Younger grades need a little help stretching their reach. Make sure that they have access to kid-friendly serving accessories with long, easy-to-grip handles.
5. Ask the Kids
They know what they like, so ask them about their favorite fruits and vegetables. Let them know that the salad bar is their creation too.
6. Designate a Rainbow Day
Have the kids choose three different colors of vegetables and fruits from the salad bar to build an edible rainbow. Reward your young consumers with celebratory stickers.
7. Make Tasting an Event
Not all school salad bar ideas have to happen in the cafeteria. Turn seasonal fruits and veggies into tasting events during school activity breaks.
8. Introduce Reusable Bowls
Give each child a small, lidded salad bowl that they can keep and bring to lunch every day. This eco-friendly idea encourages visits to the salad bar, and it fits in a backpack.
9. Celebrate the Seasons
Promote seasonal fruits and vegetables with attention-grabbing posters. Spread your message outside the cafeteria with bright handouts announcing the latest arrivals to the salad bar.
10. Explore Expansion Options
You have to watch the budget, and new salad bars are a cost consideration. However, there are programs that can help. Explore your options for expanding healthy eating opportunities.
Supporting Your Efforts
Being a kid in today’s digital world means doing homework on laptops and chatting on social channels, but some things never change. Youngsters always respond to flavors and presentations that cater to their tastes. Win their thumbs-up with healthy veggies like fresh romaine hearts and favorite fruits like crisp apples, and you help them win the battle against childhood obesity.
We believe in the power of school salad bars, and we support your efforts to serve kids with plenty of healthy choices. We’re always here to help with premium fresh produce and solid customer care. Your food service operations deserve the best, and Hitchcock Farms always delivers.